The club, closed last November, can’t use its irrigation system after emptying its ponds. The city has made an offer to buy the property but club officials rejected the $1 million proposal.
Citizens in Las Cruces, N.M. are starting to complain that the Las Cruces Country Club doesn’t look as vibrant as it once did, with brown shrubs on the golf course where there once used to be shades of green, report KFOX14-TV of El Paso, Texas.
Officials of the club said they are keeping up with course maintenance as much as possible, but are unable to use their irrigation system after having to empty out their ponds, from which they used to get water for the trees and grass on the property.
Robert Caldwell, a Vice President of the club’s Board of Directors, said the club is still keeping up with city code. “We can’t have weeds at a certain level or trash, so we’re going to be taking care of that,” Caldwell said.
“I’m disappointed that it’s not green,” Francine Chaffin, who lives near the club, located along the city’s Main Street, told the television station.
“If you look around in Las Cruces, we don’t have a lot of green,” Chaffin said. “It’s a part of Las Cruces, it’s old. The trees alone are telling us our history.”
“Certainly, they’re going to suffer, but we don’t think we’re going to have a major problem with trees just dying all of a sudden because of the heat,” Caldwell said. “We think we’re going to be OK for a while.”
The club ceased operations and closed last November, with memberships for its golfers transferred to Sonoma Ranch Golf Course. Club officials have said they want to acquire a new permanent facility for Las Cruces CC members. There has been sentiment for the city of Las Cruces, which currently stands as the largest city in the U.S. without a municipal golf course, to purchase the Las Cruces CC property. Las Cruces is the second-largest city in New Mexico, with a population of just under 100,000. It is home to New Mexico State University and just across the state border from El Paso, Texas, which has a metropolitan-area population of nearly 800,000.
The city of Las Cruces made a $1 million cash offer to purchase the 110-acre property at the end of April, but it was rejected by club officials as too low, Mayor Ken Miyagishima reported.
“Frankly, it was a starting point,” Miyagishima told the Las Cruces Sun-News. “By offering that amount, what we really wanted was to get the discussion going. This initial stage needed to be as basic as it could be.”
Guy Preston, a resident who was excited to hear earlier that the city was interested in purchasing the property, told the Sun-News that he was a bit disappointed a deal couldn’t be worked out quickly.
“That’s prime real estate, clearly the biggest open, green space in the city,” Preston said. “There’s a lot of people out there who really want to see that area stay green as much as possible. Hopefully, the city can still find a way to up its offer, and it can be one of those win-win situations for everybody.”
In April, city administrators and staff members told the City Council there could be significant costs to renovate the property for public use, be it as a golf course or some other facility.
The city had an appraisal of the property conducted about four years ago, when the idea of the city purchasing the property was first broached. That appraisal valued the property at $8 million, but that figures did not include water rights the club has owned for years.
Based on the size of the property, the city then offered $9,090 an acre. In explaining the offer, Miyagishima reiterated that he did not think the property was worth the $8 million appraisal value.
“That $8 million appraisal would mean it’s worth $80,000 an acre,” the mayor told the Sun-News. “But I’m saying it’s not worth $80,000 an acre. It needs a lot of work; it still needs water lines and sewer line and is going to require a lot of infrastructure.”
Country Club officials had no immediate comment on the latest offer, or whether there might be an opportunity for further negotiations. They have said on several occasions that they are listening to all offers, and ultimately intend to sell the property.
Miyagishima said if the offer had been accepted, the city had the money to pay for the club, through several funds and possibly including cash reserves. To recover the city’s cost, Miyagishima said the idea was to sell or lease 20 to 30 acres that could have been designated for commercial uses.
“The idea was to designate those acres along the north Main Street, (U.S.) Highway 70 area of the property,” Miyagishima said. “That’s where the bulk of the value of the property is.”
Despite rejection of the city’s offer, Miyagishima said that doesn’t necessarily mean the city won’t continue its efforts to buy the former club.
“I wouldn’t say it’s over, but it’s up to them now,” said Miyagishima, referring to club officials. “We’ll still entertain anything they might have to say.”suggest research